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Top neuroscientists in Bristol for hydrocephalus conference

Press release issued: 4 September 2014

Around 300 top neuroscientists from around the world will be in Bristol this weekend for the sixth meeting of the International Society of Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid (ISHCSF) Disorders.

The 2014 conference, to take place from Friday 5 to Monday 8 September at the University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Building, is the largest meeting worldwide dedicated to research into hydrocephalus and related disorders.

Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid on the brain. It occurs when cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) — the clear, water-like fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord — is unable to drain from the brain.  The excess fluid puts pressure on the brain, which can damage it.  Hydrocephalus can usually be treated using a piece of equipment known as a shunt.  A shunt is a thin tube that is surgically implanted in the brain and drains away the excess fluid.

The conference will cover the full range of CSF disorders affecting both children and adults.  For the first time the event will offer a simultaneous translation service for colleagues from China.  On Friday [5 September], 100 delegates will attend a satellite educational symposium on Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) to raise awareness amongst clinicians of the growing importance of NPH as a treatable cause of cognitive impairment and falls in the elderly.

At this year’s meeting there will be a special session led by Jon Clarke from Baylor College of Medicine Center for Space Medicine on visual impairment/intracranial pressure (VIIP), a condition affecting astronauts undertaking prolonged space flights, such as a planned Mars mission.  VIIP is considered one of NASA’s top health concerns, as impairment of an astronaut’s vision on a long-duration exploration mission could compromise the astronaut’s health and put mission safety at risk.

Over the last 12 months members of the ISHCSF, in collaboration with the Baylor Center for Space Medicine, have been working towards a better understanding of VIIP and how it may impact on plans for prolonged space flight missions, included a manned Mars ‘fly-by’ mission.

Jon Clark will discuss the possible health and safety challenges associated with getting humans to Mars.

During the conference there will be sessions dedicated to advanced neuro-imaging techniques in hydrocephalus and on CSF shunt design and technology.

Richard Edwards, Senior Clinical Lecturer in the School of Clinical Sciences and Congress President, said: “With an exciting group of speakers from a wide range of disciplines, this year’s conference programme will enable an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas to help speed the progress to improving the diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus and CSF disorders.”

The meeting will have sessions devoted to education in the field of hydrocephalus including a satellite session for trainee doctors with an interest in hydrocephalus and a satellite meeting of the International Hydrocephalus Imaging Working Group (IHIWG), which hold the autumn meeting of the group in conjunction with the ISHCSF. There will also be an industry sponsored “Young Investigators Award”.

Further information

About the International Society of Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid (ISHCSF) disorders

The ISHCSF was established in September 2008 and registered as a nonprofit organisation in December of the same year. From the beginning, its mission has been to advance the art and science of the field of clinical care and research in hydrocephalus and CSF disorders, and thereby promote the best possible care for patients with these disorders.

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